The impact of ‘modernisation’ on a traditional farming family is sensitively and entertainingly portrayed in the Spanish movie Alcarràs.
Named after a tiny village in Catalonia where the action takes place, Alcarràs tells of three generations of the Solé family who are about to lose their peach trees as the owner of their property wants to install solar panels in their place.
Years ago, the patriarch of the Solé family, Rogelio (Josep Abad), made a deal with the land’s owner, the patriarch of the Pinyol family, that the land on which his peach trees grew was his. However, there was no written contract, only a handshake agreement allowing Pinyol’s son Joaquim (Jacob Diarte), who has inherited the land on the death of his father, to take back the land.The move is particularly confusing and distressing for Rogelio given his family sheltered the Pinyols during the Spanish Civil War when, as landowners, they were in danger.
Joaquim has said the family can stay in their home and has offered them work maintaining the solar panels, an offer Rogelio’s son Quimet (Jordi Pujol Dolcet), who now runs the farm, finds abhorrent. Adding to Quimet’s stress are the poor prices farmers are receiving for their peaches.
Alcarràs then explores the impact on the Solé family of what will be their last season harvesting peaches.
The quiet, reserved yet dignified, Rogelio is clearly devastated and tries in his own way to persuade Joaquim to change his mind. But his overtures are ignored.
Quimet is far and away the most emotional member of the family. He’s frequently angry, often in great pain, as a result of a chronic back condition, and frustrated. He works himself ragged, is stubborn and wants the best for his family.
His wife Dolors (Anna Otin) acts as a calming influence and tries to help where she can and act as a peacemaker. This becomes increasingly challenging when Quimet’s sister and brother-in-law start working for Joaquim, resulting in a family rift.
This rift and uncertainty over the family’s future also has an emotional impact on the Solé teenager children Roger (Albert Bosch), Mariona (Xènia Roset) and six-year-old Iris (Ainet Jounou).
It comes as no surprise to discover Alcarràs is inspired by writer and director Carla Simón’s background. Her uncles cultivate peaches in Alcarràs and she comes from a large family comprising numerous generations.
Given the quality of the acting, it’s a great surprise to discover none of the cast are professional actors. Instead Simón cast Alcarràs locals. As a result the movie has a truly authentic feel which adds to its poignancy.
While watching Alcarràs does take some concentration, given the many different family members and their complex relationships the acting, stunning cinematography and the movie’s emotional impact ensure it’s well worth the effort.
Alcarràs opens in cinemas on Thursday July 27.
*Photo credit: ©Lluís Tudela
- movie, reviews
Subscribe My Newsletter
Unsubscribe at any time.